Biometrics Studies

One of the main challenges of the European Information Society is to find a widely acceptable, cost-efficient solution to the task of identification and verification of individuals. Biometric technologies are expected to play an important, if not key role in this process. Member States have started the implementation of large-scale biometric projects (passports, ID cards, driving licences etc.), however it is still at early stage and there are many challenges and open questions.

TEFIS team is involved in various activities related to biometrics base on the work done in 2004 and 2005 in order to assess the impact of biometrics on Society. Current related work is:

  • a study on Biometric Deployment
  • a specific study on Security and Privacy in Biometric systems
    Final Report

Study on Security and Privacy in Biometric systems


Starting date: September 2006
Duration: 10 Weeks

Objective: The objective of this study is to identify the main challenges concerning security and privacy in implementation of large-scale biometric systems in Europe and propose recommendations for European policy.

Description: Biometrics is seen as the important new tool in the effort to increase the efficiency of systems designed to check identity of European citizens and/or holders of visa or residence permit at border crossings or other points of control. However, at the same time, the implementation of these projects introduces new challenges that, if not addressed, may limit the benefits of this technology for Europe. In fact, it can be argued that if these challenges are not dealt with properly, these schemes might even introduce more significant security risks than they aim to diminish and make serious inroads to traditional principles of data protection. The challenges are getting more complex of nature, as there is yet no broad knowledge based on existing experiences with these systems.
Main issues addressed in the project are: proportionality, scale- and non-scale related factors that decide on impact of biometric system on society, privacy concerns in different phases of the biometric process, security aspects of biometrics, protection of data in nationally-managed systems, the role of standards and testing/certification in protection of privacy.


Study on Biometric Deployment


Starting date: November 2006
Duration: 7 months

Objective: The aim of this study is to find and analyse information about the actual status of large-scale deployment of biometric systems in the EU in the public sector (for applications such as e-passports, national e-ID cards) as well as large-scale commercial solutions, even if they are not as big as their public sector equivalents.
A survey will help collect the necessary information.

Specific tasks of this project are:

  • Collect information on and summarize the present state of large-scale biometric deployment in Europe
  • Identify the main challenges and current problems for biometric deployment, considering issues related to performance, interoperability, user acceptance, convenience, cost and others;
  • Propose areas that should be explored in order to solve or alleviate existing or potential problems that may flow from the large-scale implementation of biometric systems.
  • Put together results and options for policy making flowing from this project findings, projects on Testing and Evaluation and Security and the conference which will be organized within the project.


  • Cybion (IT)
  • A-SIT (AT)

Dissemination activities

Relevant publications

  • The final report of the study on "Security and Privacy in Biometric systems" has been delivered and is published as a part of the report on Biometric Deployment.
    Final Report

  • EUR 21585 EN. Biometrics at the frontiers: Assessing the Impact on Society.
    Study for the European Parliament Committee on Citizens' Freedoms and Rights, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE), February 2005
    Report in this page...

Relevant events

  • Conference Biometrics Deployment, third quarter of 2007.


Project Leaders: Ioannis Maghiros and Pawel Rotter